Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giveaway: Back to the Roots Mushroom Garden $20 ARV {11.30; US} CLOSED

This is a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama and Natural Parents Network. I'm also cross-posting it here on Hobo Mama Reviews. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.

Back to the Roots is offering our readers a giveaway of a Mushroom Farm, a value of $19.95.

This fun, sustainable, and educational grow-at-home mushroom kit lets you grow up to 1 1/2 pounds of gourmet, tasty oyster mushrooms in only 10 days…right from the box! The soil inside is 100% recycled coffee grounds, and the daily care is a simple misting.


From our reviewer, Sam for Hobo Mama:

I love mushrooms. Mushrooms as the centerpiece of a dish, mushrooms as an earthy base to a dish, mushrooms as a garnish: stuffed, sautéed, stir fried, raw, I love them all.

But I had never grown my own mushrooms before. It had never, frankly, occurred to me. But when we got the Back to the Roots mushroom kit, I was eager to dive in. The soil in the kit is made from recycled coffee grounds, and nearly the whole packaging is compostable afterward, so the kit is giving a second and third life to our raw materials, and the mushrooms are a freebie bonus in that process.

Our four-year-old son, Mikko, got to help in the process, although it's so simple I actually wished there was more there to hold his interest.

All you need to do is use a knife to cut a cross in the plastic, soak the bag in water overnight, and put the bag in its cardboard container in some sunlight. It was a two-minute project (or would have been if Mikko hadn't spilled quite of bit of the brownish water on the floor when getting out the bag).

From there on out, it was a simple matter of misting the bag with water twice a day, using the enclosed spray bottle, and letting the 'shrooms sprout. I was stunned by how quick the process was.

Here's the kit on day three (nothing to see yet):

Then on day six:

Day seven (seriously!):

Day nine:

On day eleven, it seemed like the exponential growth had stopped and the mushrooms looked about the size on the picture included with the instructions, so it was harvest time. (The instructions say to harvest on the tenth day, but I was greedily waiting to see if they'd get even bigger.)

Mikko did the honors. (Again, it was about two more minutes as a project.)

It yielded a solid plateful of mushrooms.

I sautéed the mushrooms and added them to a garbanzo-bean/couscous dish I'd made flavored with onion, ground pork, and a mushroom powder I mail-order. (The oyster mushrooms don't shrink as much as button or crimini; that's simply half of the batch as Lauren and I shared.)

Lauren's the green thumb in our family and I haven't even really found the work to be worth the reward in growing things myself, but this project couldn't have been simpler. Mikko seemed to enjoy watching the mushrooms get bigger each day although he couldn't bring himself to taste one.

The only hiccup I experienced was that you're supposed to be able to grow a second batch by cutting a cross on the other side of the bag, but I didn't get any growth the second time. I was unclear whether or not I needed to soak the bag again, and I did, so perhaps that was a mistake. (Actually, in visiting their website to remind myself of the instructions, I don't see anything there about soaking the bag at all, so maybe that's something they've worked to eliminate as part of the process.)

The mushroom kit is definitely something I'd do again once Mikko is a bit older and can anticipate eating them when they're finished. The more enjoyment you get out of the process, the better value it is, of course.

Replacement bags are half the price of the entire kit if you want to keep going, and the bags keep up to six months before opening, so you could likely get your cost down (especially if you get that second or third crop per bag) to where fresh mushrooms are a kitchen staple.


Back to the Roots

The founders of Back to the Roots were inspired by the idea of producing local, fresh food from what was an urban waste stream. The company is on pace in 2011 to collect, divert, and reuse 1 million pounds of coffee grounds this year from Peet's Coffee & Tea, and to help families grow over 250,000 pounds of fresh food at home. They've also sustained 10 urban school & community gardens by donating the premium soil amendment of spent coffee grounds and mushroom compost.


You can purchase the Mushroom Farm online at or on Amazon The kit costs $19.95. If you order 2 kits through, you get free shipping.

Because the kits last six months or more in storage, a Mushroom Farm would make a perfect holiday gift!

Replacement bags are $9.99. A Monthly Mushroom Club subscription will net you 20% off over five months of mushroom kits shipped to your door.

You can also find the Mushroom Farm at Whole Foods stores.

If you post a picture of your grown kit on the Back to the Roots Facebook page, BTTR will donate a sustainability curriculum and kit to an elementary school of your choice!

Back to the Roots is also offering our readers a special discount!

Enter the code "Mushrooms4me10"
to take 10% off your first mushroom kit!


For your own chance to win a Back to the Roots Mushroom Farm, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to United States addresses only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit and tell us something you've learned! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries. If on Blogger, you can enter it like this to foil spambots: mail {at} naturalparentsnetwork {dot} com

This is a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Contest closes November 30 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.


Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product for review.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
See my full disclosure policy here.


Crackerdog Sam (that's his hobo name) is a full-time work-from-home parent and a newly avid unschooler. He shares both the working and the parenting of four-year-old Mikko and five-month-old Alrik with Lauren of Hobo Mama.


Domestic Diva said...

I learned they sell several varieties of mushrooms. Looks like fun!

TopHat said...

I learned that the soil is 100% recycled coffee grounds!

TopHat said...

Iwant to win because I think it's really cool and my kids will enjoy it.

Unknown said...

I learned that they hire local urbanites to man the company. I love that the jobs aren't farmed out to rural areas or even overseas!

Unknown said...

I'd like to win for so many reasons! The main ones are:
1) I love mushrooms and would love to learn how to grow my own (I have no idea how they grow the mushrooms that I buy in the store!)
2) It's a great learning experience for my kids!

lace said...

I learned that you get your first crop in as little as 10 days!

Curls Studio said...

I love mushrooms. Hope to win it!

Unknown said...

I learned about their new "PROGRAM": Post a picture with your kit fully grown on their facebook page and they'll send you a free replacement bag or donate a kit to an elementary classroom of your choice to supp
rasmith0506 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I'd love to win because we include mushrooms in almost half of our meals. It would also be a terrific project and teaching tool for my oldest
rasmith0506 at gmail dot com

Diana said...

I learned they sell several different varieties of mushrooms

Diana said...

I would love to be able to grow these with my granddaughters

Jennifer Carroll said...

First off, I have to say that this i so neat!! I learned that this company Helps families grow over 250,000lbs of fresh food at home in 2011!

Jennifer Carroll said...

First off, I have to say that this i so neat!! I learned that this company Helps families grow over 250,000lbs of fresh food at home in 2011!

Jennifer Carroll said...

I want this because I know that my girls would LOVE this!

Braxs Mommy said...

i learned that they have several diff varieties of mushrooms!

Braxs Mommy said...

would love to win cause my son would love to watch these grow!

ticklemetiffy said...

I learned that they helped sustain 10 school and community gardens with their donations.
ticklemetiffy @gmail dot com

eclairre said...

I learned that you get your first crop in as little as 10 days!

eclairre said...

I want to win so Icould give it as an xmas present.

DeniseL said...

I learned that they are on pace to divert ONE MILLION pounds of coffee grounds from the landfill. Awesome!

dmarie824 at aol dot com

DeniseL said...

I'd love to give this as a gift for Christmas. Just hoping someone does the same for me :)
dmarie824 at aol dot com

corey1971 said...

I learned that they formed the company in 2009 while attending UC Berkeley. (Corey Olomon)(

corey1971 said...

Me and my daughter LOVE mushrooms. (Corey Olomon)(

Sara Lehman said...

I learned they have helped families grow food at home successfully!

Elissa Pugh said...

There are coloring pages for kids!

elissapugh at

Jessica Snook said...

I learned that the founder gave a Ted talk on sustainability.